Let's have some real talk
When I was in middle school, high school and the first few years of college, I was SO unhappy with my body and my weight.
I didn't want to just "accept my body" because I knew I would be more confident and comfortable a few pounds lighter.
I would look at my friends and be so jealous. Why couldn't I just look like that? They were eating chocolate and pizza and takeout. It felt really unfair.
Hey, vanity is allowed!
But I couldn't find a way to lose those pounds without starving myself, or without having to cancel plans with friends in order to stick with "my plan".
I tried a number of diets - but, as I'm sure you can imagine, they lasted about a few hours, or a few days at most. They just weren't sustainable.
It seemed like a real lose-lose situation. It got so bad that I actually had to take time off from college to focus on my relationship with food, and focus on self-care.
During this time at home, I knew something drastic needed to change. I knew I needed more nutrition knowledge about what exactly would help me get to, and stay at, the weight I wanted.
I started taking some nutrition classes at a community college, and when I went back to my university, I switched my major to nutrition.
I'd like to tell you it was smooth sailing after that... but I was a work in progress for another few years!
It took getting my PhD in behavior change, and coaching hundreds of women, and seeing what worked, and what didn't work, to come up with a customizable system that kept me, and my clients, at our ideal weights, for the LONG term!
And, most importantly, I finally was able to figure out what I really wanted - true happiness and bliss, and a mind free of food thoughts.There is so much more to life than constantly thinking about food, SO MUCH more!
First and foremost, let's talk nutrition science. The most important thing to me is that you are full and satisfied.
Research does show that protein & fats are more satisfying that carbohydrates. Here are some excellent, well researched articles on the subject:
However! Starchy foods, while they may not be as physically filling, are physiologically satisfying!
Here are my rules of thumb for managing weight & weight loss
PRINCIPLE 1. ONE STARCHY FOOD PER DAY
Starchy foods include grains like bread, rice, pasta, and quinoa, but also starchy vegetables like potatoes, beans, peas, corn, hummus, French fries, etc.
Sticking with 1 serving of starchy foods is ideal - so 1 piece of bread, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice or starch veg like peas.
PRINCIPLE 2. ONE FRUIT PER DAY
For the same reason we're limiting starchy foods, fruits have 2, 3, 4, 5 times as many calories as non-starchy vegetables, and they're not really any more filling.
And I want you to be as full as possible!
PRINCIPLE 3. DON'T DRINK YOUR CALORIES
If we had some fruits, and then we blended them up and made them into a smoothie, research shows you'd be psychologically, and physiologically less full on the smoothie.
Along the same lines, chewing nuts is typically more filling than nut butters. It's too easy to eat half that jar of peanut butter, but if you had try to chew on all the peanuts that made that same amount of peanut butter, it may be difficult.
And finally, in this same bucket, I'd recommend choosing low calorie salad dressings instead of higher calorie ones. Salad dressing isn't filling itself, but the taste is often needed!
PRINCIPLE 4. BREAKFAST - FOCUS ON PROTEIN & FATS
The first question I want you to ask yourself is: Am I hungry for breakfast? "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" - is just not true for everyone! I generally recommend not eating just for the sake of eating - eat breakfast when you feel true hunger in your stomach.
Focus on protein & fats - such as eggs, avocado, nuts, and yogurt. Here are some of my favorite options:
2 hard boiled eggs, 1 piece of fruit, 1 string cheese
2 fried eggs + 1/2 avocado
One 2% plain yogurt + 1/3 cup frozen fruit
Pro-tip: let the frozen fruit thaw first before adding it to the yogurt, when you mix it, it tastes just like a flavored yogurt!
PRINCIPLE 5. LUNCH & DINNER FORMULA
Here's my go-to formula for lunch & dinners:
2 cups non-starchy vegetables (about 50 calories)
1 "regular" serving of protein (about 120 calories) - e.g. 1 chicken breast, 1 can of tuna
100-200 calories of fats - e.g. nuts, cheese, avocado, olives, bacon, etc.
I generally recommend cooking with an oil spray instead of using oil, because, like we talked about in Principle 4, eating the fat is typically more filling and satisfying than having it in more of a liquid form.
LISTENING TO YOUR BODY & LONG TERM HABIT CHANGE
Getting the food under control is of course incredibly important, but other items are equally, if not more important:
Figuring out how to handle social events that include food
Eliminating stress, boredom, and emotional eating
Creating habits that sustain you for the long term
Following ANY plan will help you lose weight, but the true works comes to keep that weight off for the long term.
If you want to learn more about living you happiest, most fulfilled life, I'd love for you to check out my weight loss program, here!